Hate speech

Hate speech promotes hatred or violence against individuals or groups based on certain attributes. It is not protected by freedom of expression. This means that the state can lawfully prevent and punish expressions of hate speech.

Definition

Hate speech is any form of incitement, spreading or justification of hate and violence against an individual or a group of people based on certain attributes such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, beliefs or health condition.

What can be considered hate speech?

There is a fine line between what can and cannot be considered hate speech. Therefore, it is important to carefully distinguish hate speech from other insulting, unpopular or extreme views and expressions. For example, a statement can be contrary to the majority’s opinion, considered offensive and feel hateful, but it might not exactly incite hatred or violence.

Hate speech vs Freedom of expression

Hate speech is contrary to the basic values of a democratic society. It invites or justifies intolerance towards certain people on the basis of an idea that these people are somehow different because of certain attributes. Therefore, hate speech is not protected by freedom of expression and is a criminal offence which can be lawfully prevented or punished.

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